For years, Game Freak has been developing third versions of its Pokémon RPGs to overcome weaknesses and expand the game. This concept will soon be updated for the first time with The Isle of Armor expansion for Pokémon Sword and Shield. Gamer.nl took a first look at the DLC and told The Pokémon Company about new features.
Those who have been following the franchise for some time have probably cared about the third and best slightly improved version of the Pokemon games. Back in the days of Pokémon Crystal, Emerald, and Platinum, a third version with a few extras for the average fan was still justifiable, but in 2020 it feels heavy and not quite right. Therefore, Game Freak is releasing two paid expansions this year. The next Isle of Armor is all about combat and training, while the Crown of Tundra brings more exploration items. In this preview, we focus on the first expansion.
One of the advantages of dlc over a third version is that new players can enter the new area almost immediately. Those who reach the Wilderness Area, the open world in central Galar, can fly directly to Armor Island in the west of the region. Similar to Wild Area, the levels of Pokémon Wild differ depending on the area, describing some pieces naturally. However, the preview showed footage from the game of a coach who had just completed the main game.
Small open world
The developer had previously hinted at the similarities between the new island and the wilderness, but the fact that all of the DLC is playable in “3D” should be a pleasant surprise. Wherever players walk or bike, the camera can be controlled, raid lairs for Max Raid Battles and other players walk in online mode. Basically, that’s what we want to see in a modern Pokémon game: an open world with no load times, separate from buildings in this case.
What’s also striking is that the Isle of Armor is larger and, most importantly, slightly more varied than the drab and empty Wilderness Area. There is a beach, a forest, a tunnel and a desert and even several islands in the sea which can be reached with the practical (water) bicycle. Everything looks better dressed in the different environments; there are more different plants here and there a ditch and a little more npc.
Not all pain points in the wilderness have been resolved. For example, it is desirable for the weather to change almost every few meters, but of course this is not completely realistic. The attraction distance of the wandering Pokémon is not so great, which further affects the vitality of the environment. Also, there is a good chance that you will come across a Golduck that suddenly emerges as you walk through the arena.
Speaking of Pokémon, it’s estimated that the expansion will add a hundred new monsters to the Pokédex. Obviously, the lack of many handheld samples has been a frequently heard criticism, but in our experience with the DLC, the first gen is at least as good as it is complete. With beloved newbies like Bulbasaur and Squirtle and new Pokémon like Lycanroc, the offer seems to be varied. Unfortunately, players cannot catch this Pokémon without the Expansion Pass, but they can trade it with others through the game and Pokémon Home.
As well as exploring the island, the Isle of Armor features a story centered around the dojo of former champion Galar Mustard and the legendary pokemon bear Kubfu. To prove that you are a candidate for a gym leader, you will be presented with various tests, such as collecting certain Pokemon or things from nature. After the rather chaotic plot of Sword and Shield, it’s wise to adjust your expectations for the story, although Isle of Armor leaves a slightly more focused and cheerful impression in this area.
The trainers you meet on the island are the strongest in the game, according to Game Freak. According to the pictures, it is difficult to estimate how much the expansion increases the difficulty level: with Pokémon between levels 60 and 70, the trainers were the same as the pictures. However, the developer was unable to comment on how much stronger Pokémon generally becomes over the course of the story. We also know little about a potentially important feature called Restricted Combat, where players are limited in the type of Pokémon they can use. Is this a particular setting that applies to the entire DLC? And does that also make the game more difficult? These questions remain unanswered for the moment.
The best music in the game
The first expansion also offers a number of smaller features such as new clothes and hairstyles, new models for the Rotom bike, magic soup to give Pokémon the chance to dynamax, new moves and new elements like charm. glittering, that Pokémon from It has the potential to gain even more XP. In addition, new tropical and oriental music deserves special mention. These uplifting tunes are perhaps the most catchy in the game and give the sunny island a nice Alola feel.
So our first impression of The Ilse of Armor is good, especially given the variation on the fully three-dimensional island. How long is the story, and if the fighting really is fiercer than the main game is expected to show when the expansion arrives soon on June 17th.
Ilse of Armor will be available for Nintendo Switch on June 17th. The extension is included in the extension pass.
Source: Game Informer